[Oversea] Sabah February 2017 - Whitehead's Broadbill and more...

Sabah February 2017 - Whitehead's Broadbill and more...

Spent just under a week at Sabah earlier this month, travelling from KK to Mt Kinabalu Park, Sepilok and then back to Mt Kinabalu again. Although we didn't get to connect with a few of my other target birds (namely Whitehead's Trogon), but we did get some other interesting species, while bird of the trip no doubt goes to the male Whitehead's Broadbill. Birds were evidently less active in February (compare to my last visits in April or May at least), this maybe a result of birds still breeding or nesting, so they were much less vocal. But, we still managed 169 species (minus the unidentifiable Frigatebirds from afar and an unknown raptor on Mt Kinabalu) in total, which included some quality birds from the montane forests of Mt Kinabalu and the lowlands of Sepilok. Weather was better then expected and we lost very little birding time due to rain, while a bit of cloud meant it wasn't that hot in the lowlands either. All in all a very enjoyable trip, thank you Captain for initiating the trip, as well as our friends Hailey and Alfee, making up great company!

For full trip report please visit:
Part 1 -
Part 2 -

Mt Kinabalu Park:

Whitehead's Broadbill - endemic

Bare-headed Laughingthrush - endemic

Bornean Stubtail - endemic

Bornean Green Magpie - endemic

Bornean Whistling Thrush - endemic

Bornean Whistler - endemic

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush - endemic

Chestnut-crested Yuhina - endemic

Golden-naped Barbet - endemic

Bornean Forktail - endemic

Black-sided Flowerpecker - endemic

Bornean Treepie - endemic

Sunda Bush Warbler

Little Cuckoo Dove

Grey-throated Babbler

Black-capped White-eye

Yellow-breasted Warbler

White-throated Fantail

Mountain Leaf Warbler

Indigo Flycatcher

Sunda Laughingthrush

Maroon Woodpecker

Checker-throated Woodpecker

Orange-backed Woodpecker


Grey-and-Buff Woodpecker

Buff-necked Woodpecker

Red-bearded Bee-eater

Bornean Black Magpie - endemic

Black-and-Yellow Broadbill

White-crowned Shama - endemic

Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Rufous Piculet

Red-naped Trogon

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike

Chestnut-winged Babbler

Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo

KK, Tanjung Aru Beach:

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Green Imperial Pigeon

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Common Iora

Blue-naped Parrot

Collared Kingfisher

[ Last edited by kmatthew at 5/03/2017 00:00 ]
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog




Great !
A very interesting trip.
Can you provide the transportation and accomodation information?


Nice shots!

Just wondering on the colour ringed birds - is there anywhere in the Park HQ where you can report these sightings do you know?


Thanks all, to answer WM's question:

Mt Kinabalu:
1. Ayana Holiday Resort -  just before you reach the Kinabalu Park HQ, but personally I would not recommend it as the stairs are a bit of a nuisance...
2. Mile 36 Lodge - A bit further down the road past Kinabalu Park HQ, but just 3 minutes drive past the carpark, quite helpful staff and overall satisfactory, clean and simple.

1. Sepilok Jungle Resort - ran by a Chinese couple, quite a large resort with it's own lake, restaurant and plenty of rooms. Have AC, staff are nice, and plenty of birding opportunities at the lodge itself. Robert the chef is famous for being a part time bird guide, just contact them before you go about your intention to bird there, he can organise half day trips into RDC + around the lodge. Highly recommend.
2. Sepilok Bed & Breakfast - didn't stay there this time but stayed there last time, good thing is much closer to RDC, don't require a car to go back and forth. But lodge much simpler and food not as good. Cheaper though.
3. Sepilok Forest Edge Resort - also stayed there before, ran by wife of famous bird guide Robert Chong, very good quality rooms, services and food, good birding in surrounding area (not as good as Sepilok Jungle) but rooms were quite expensive.


Booked with Extra Rent-A-Car as I had last time, very good and highly recommend, very hassle free, just give them your landing time and the staff will wait at the arrival gate to hand you the car.

As to David, I also wonder about that, but have yet to find out where I can report them. They were obviously very busy ringing them because half the birds we saw were ringed...

[ Last edited by kmatthew at 1/03/2017 17:22 ]
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Thanks very much Matthew.


Great shots as well Matthew.

I saw many photos on another website showing KK birds with colour rings - like you say, they are very busy ringing there


More about driving and transport

Kota Kinabalu to Mountain Kinabalu (park entrance, 2 hrs drive, uphill); Mountain Kinabalu to Sepilok (200 km, 5 hrs including breaks)

Alternatively, you could catch a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Mountain Kinabalu (don’t know the details. But most day trip tourists get there by bus or van). Get back to Kota Kinabalu after birding, take a domestic flight to Sandakan. Ask the resort to pick u up at Sandakan airport.

Pls note it is better to arrange transport inside the Mt Kinabalu Park. Although already hundreds of birds along the park entrance, some birds are only found at the upper part (from park entrance to the end of main road, about 4.5 km but uphill. Expect at least 3 hrs one way if on foot).

In sepilok, transport to Rainforest Centre is simple (resorts can arrange it easily).  There is a taxi calling counter at the centre as well.


Wonderful trip!

Wonder if White-rumped Shama is a endemic species?

[ Last edited by hinwan at 4/03/2017 19:11 ]


I hitched a lift very early a couple of mornings from vans heading up to the top of the trail where climbers begin the ascent at Timpohon Gate then walked back to the main park of the park.  I was staying in the  park which made the early start easier.  I met some American students who were ringing and studying the birds (I think from University of Montana); they pointed out some bird nests and offered advice too.


Original posted by hinwan at 4/03/2017 19:08
Wonderful trip!

Wonder if White-rumped Shama is a endemic species?
Oops, mistake by me, should be typed as White-crowned Shama and not White-rumped.
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Original posted by subbuteo at 4/03/2017 20:25
I hitched a lift very early a couple of mornings from vans heading up to the top of the trail where climbers begin the ascent at Timpohon Gate then walked back to the main park of the park.  I was sta ...
Thanks for the additional info! We chose to stay outside the park as the prices in the park had inflated hugely!
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Indeed the prices have increased dramatically recently (and may well of gone up since my last visit) - a resort company has taken over the running of the accommodation.  I used to drive up to Kinabalu often when I lived in Brunei and it was was a cheap place to stay.  Most national parks in Malaysia are very reasonable to stay at but Kinabalu is not anymore; the price of popularity.